How Much Does It Cost To Have A Celebrity Speaker?
So, you want to book a celebrity speaker for your upcoming event. Someone dynamic, interesting, knowledgeable, and likely to draw a crowd. You also want to find the best speaker fees but don’t know if you have A-list celebrity caliber money, and don’t even know if an A-list celebrity would even consider gracing your stage. These are common and valid concerns when you’re looking to book top keynote speakers at the best speaker fees. In fact, they may be the biggest concerns surrounding your event. If you don’t get the person you want, the event can be a bust, and then even the money you do spend will be a waste.
It’s easy to get worked up when you start the process of finding the right speaker and best speaker fees. Who do you call? How do you know you’re working with a speaker booking agent who actually has access to the best keynote speakers on the speaking circuit?
The first thing to do is make a dream wish list. Who do you want, and why? What will they bring to the stage? Maybe you thought Alec Baldwin would be terrific for your New York-centered event, but when you look into it, a different kind of famous person— a NY Times bestselling author and award-winning educator such as Adam Grant, for example—is a better fit for your audience. You really have to consider not just the celebrity wow factor, but the substance these top celebrity speakers can deliver. Eva Longoria is politically involved with the Democratic Party and would be a great fit for an event calling for political fundraising, but maybe she wouldn’t be as effective as, say, Newt Gingrich, on topics concerning White House and foreign policies.
Do you like the way the celebrity talks? Are they engaging? Are they intelligent? Will they be able to take a Q&A session and effectively address real questions? Whether they’re known or not becomes less important if the speaker isn’t going to deliver a message that aligns with your theme and connects with the audience. Make sure you target the right people. That alone might drive your costs down!
Now make a budget. Unfortunately, most A-list celebrity speakers for hire don’t have a rate card, and even if they do, you need to get access to it. There’s really no overarching rate scale for celebrity keynote speakers. Each speaker brings something different to the table, and speaker fees can fluctuate based on popularity of the time. In 2017, we have seen a rise in requests for political speakers such as Joe and Jill Biden, Condoleezza Rice, Van Jones, and Ann Coulter thanks to America’s increased focus on political actions followings Trump’s inauguration. Therefore, these speaker’s fees have increased due to a rise in demand and a full schedule of events that render them unavailable for other paid opportunities.
So before you start digging out your rolodex, figure out what you have to spend in order to target the best speaker fees for your event. Make three numbers: a max number, an ideal number, and a low number. Now you’ve got something to shoot for.
Sometimes a celebrity will want to plug a personal enterprise, a new book or a new clothing line; whatever it is, you may, instead of payment, offer to let the speaker sell his or her book and incorporate a signing table, which could be more attractive to the speaker who wants to expand his or her own brand. You’ll always pay for travel and lodging, if applicable, as well as per diem costs and whatever else the speaker requires so it’s important to find out those details upfront. It may be special food backstage, it could be a dog sitter, who knows. The best thing you can do is determine what you can spend overall, and what extras you can include. Be creative – if your event is at a Ritz-Carlton, maybe they’re throwing in a room with your rate – your speaker can stay there as part of compensation, and you won’t pay a dime!
Remember to factor in fees, such as agency fees and potential transportation during the hiring process. Ask questions! That’s the best way to avoid unexpected fees. Use common sense with each step. Finding someone local can eliminate first-class airfare and car rentals or taxis, per diem costs, and any wining and dining you may be obligated to do as well. Does this person have an assistant they always bring? You may have to transport that person, too. It may be beneficial to use one of your own assistants to help out with tasks like pickups and bringing food, etc. If you’re already paying that person on payroll, you’ll save money.
Once you’ve determined your budget, your creative extras, and your actual needs, you’ll need to begin to reach out. But where do you to start? It’s not like you can search for Steve Wozniak online and find his direct dial. You’ll have to be smart.
That’s where we come in! Celebrity Speakers Bureau has built relationships with top celebrity agents who control the celebrity speaker landscape. After bookings hundreds of events with these speaker booking agents, we have the leverage to help you secure the best speaker fees for your desired speakers as opposed to you cold calling these agents and getting their top asking price with no wiggle room. An already established rapport with celebrity agents adds comfort for all parties involved and lends itself to an easier negotiating process. It also relieves the stress of how to handle a big name without making an uninformed mistake.
Before you even try to contact anyone on your wish list, let’s talk! Maybe you think Fuji Water is enough of an extra (it’s not!), or maybe your budget won’t go as far as you’d hoped. An agency can enlighten you on not just who your money can buy, but what else you’ll need to account for.
Be open! One of our agents might tell you no one on your list is going to work. But that’s okay, we’re getting somewhere! At Celebrity Speakers Bureau, we will give you alternative options and help you generate a new list of keynote speakers that will hit home with your audience. The advantage here is the agent’s prior knowledge – we know which celebrity will work best for different types of events and what their limitations are.
So what does this cost? Anything, really. Between the keynote speaker and the style of event, celebrity speaking fees have so many criteria it’s nearly impossible to imagine a ballpark price. For example, if you’re a non-profit generating funds, many celebrities will do the project for low to no money simply for goodwill (and a little image boost). If the event looks like fun, or maybe has a good networking possibility, that can work in your favor (although be careful about how you broach this). In a similar vein, if you’re a company that the celebrity has a business interest in, like a new technology that could be used in their own personal ventures, they may take a lower fee in exchange for a long-term marketing agreement with you (which is great). Or, as is often the case, they could bill top dollar because they’re in such high demand. Frankly, if the work doesn’t come from you, it’ll come from someone else. Top dollar is any amount. It’s up to you to determine if their asking price is worth it, even if it’s within your price range.
So here’s your game plan for the next event you are coordinating:
Consider the scope of your event. Once you have the financials and goals ironed out, get in touch with a Celebrity Speaker’s Bureau agent! Our access to a vast list of over 6,000 celebrity keynote speakers will ensure you book a celebrity speaker who will blow your audience away, for the best speaker fees. Contact us today via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (212) 410-2853.